NBN CBA proves Turnbull’s NBN is fraudband

Sometimes in politics, it is the actions of your opponents that best crystallise the virtues of your own policies. The backward-facing ideology which underpins the “independent” cost-benefit analysis of the national broadband network is a case in point. When Labor came to office in 2007, broadband penetration was languishing. Our nearest neighbours were charting a path to prosperity with investments in next generation fibre networks.  Australia’s telecommunications regulatory framework was broken and beset by vertical integration.  Facilities-based competition had failed. Continue reading

‘Suck it up’ shouldn’t have to be our response to racism

“In the good old days we just sucked it up.” This was one observation put forward in respect to racial abuse at a community forum on the Racial Discrimination Act held in Bankstown last week. While this was certainly the minority view and a grossly misguided one it actually works to highlight why the law should remain as is – fundamentally we do not want to go back to the “good old days.” Going into these consultations I thought I was clear about what the arguments would be, but I have been surprised by what I have learnt as the Opposition has held these forums around the community. Continue reading

True to form – upload speeds and accountability out the window

CommsDay has confirmed today (as reported here) that Malcolm Turnbull will not guarantee minimum download speeds above 25Mbps or upload speeds above 1Mbps on his Coalition Broadband Network. As I wrote last week, the Coalition has never been interested in improving upload speeds for Australians and today’s news confirms that – with Malcolm Turnbull at the helm we are heading down the path of least innovation. Continue reading

Malcom’s multi-mix: An (up)load of rubbish

“The Americans have need of the telephone, but we do not. We have plenty of messenger boys”. So said Sir William Preece, the chief engineer of the British Post Office, in 1876. Adjusted for real time, Malcolm Turnbull basically said the same this week. For all the Minister’s flip-flopping over the past few days and the subsequent reporting, one of the key aspects that has largely been overlooked is the issue of the upload: its speed, quality and availability.  While Tony Abbott equates broadband infrastructure investment with a video entertainment system and thinks Malcolm Turnbull invented the Internet, one would have hoped his Minister might have acquired some appreciation of the importance of the upload. Continue reading

No room for lip service on Harmony Day

“Lady, last year I would have been out the back stealing your car. Now I’m here doing what I love”. This was the answer given to me by a young man of Pacific Islander background, after he had performed in front of hundreds of people at a community event in Blacktown. He was introduced to the audience as a member of a group of young adults whose lives had been turned around by the innovative intervention of others. Continue reading

Turnbull blinded by unhealthy obsession

Malcolm Turnbull missed out on a spot at the Adelaide Fringe Festival this year.  Instead, on four occasions over the last two weeks, the Minister for Communications has used Question Time as a vehicle to show off his comedy routine.  While it may give his backbench a boost, Turnbull’s obsession with his predecessor Minister diminishes important issues confronting the nation. “There are some limitations to telehealth services,” the Minister said in response to a question on broadband-enabled telehealth.  “There are some conditions that are arguably incurable and inaccessible,” he continued. Continue reading

Malcolm Turnbull says: Blacktown, you’ve got it good enough

Malcolm Turnbull visited Blacktown last Friday.  I think the last time he was in Blacktown was to launch my Liberal opponent’s campaign in Greenway.  But I digress. Turnbull posted some silly tweets and uploaded a ridiculous video in which he starred with his new (part-time) Executive Chairman of the board of NBNCo, Dr Ziggy Switkowski. I largely ignored Turnbull’s comments until he repeated them in Parliament this morning and again in Question Time today. Continue reading

Trench warfare can’t fix Turnbull’s NBN

The below piece was published by Business Spectator on April 12, 2013. The great irony of Malcolm Turnbull’s attempt yesterday to salvage a remnant of credibility following the disastrous release of his party’s broadband-lite manifesto is that he is guilty of the very crime he has levelled at every critic (and they are numerous): apparently, said critics have rusted themselves on to old arguments supporting the benefits of a national, ubiquitous and scalable open access network to reverse decades of entrenched inequity in broadband accessibility. Continue reading

Actions must speak louder than words on Sri Lanka

I have always been an interested spectator on the situation in post-Civil War Sri Lanka, mainly because I have a number of friends from the island nation and because I spent a bit of time there as a lawyer in 2003. I’ve read the haunting accounts, seen the graphic footage and of course heard about it from my Tamil and Sinhalese friends. One of the most unforgettable accounts comes from the Editor of Sri Lanka’s Sunday Leader, Lasantha Wickrematunge in his piece ‘And then they came for me’, in which he accurately predicts his own murder: Continue reading